Buy now or wait?

When is the right time to buy a home?

The Federal Reserve recently announced that rates are expected to decline in 2024. This is very welcome news for the many prospective buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for mortgage rates to drop below 7%. Experts believe that those buyers will come flooding back to the market as soon as mortgage rates get to the 6% range. This means that buyer demand for available homes will increase significantly, which in turn will drive up home prices (again), especially in inventory-strapped areas like Northern California.

Before that happens though, some saavy buyers are realizing that now may be the right time to make an offer on a property while most of the competition are waiting for rates to drop. Although it is true that mortgage interest rates may be higher at the moment, the purchase price will probably be much lower than it would be after rates decline and demand goes back up. Many mortgages can be refinanced after 6 months, so it may make sense to lock in a good deal on a purchase price now and refinance in 6 months. Call me or talk to your mortgage pro to discuss this strategy. It’s always tough to time a market, but for those who are watching, I believe that there are signs along the way that indicate where the opportunity may be. Whether you are considering buying a home in San Francisco or Sonoma Wine Country, I’m here and ready to help.

How much are property taxes in San Francisco?

I am often asked about SF property taxes, how they are calculated and when they are due. Property taxes (also known as real estate taxes, real property taxes, or secured property taxes) are calculated by taking the assessed value of the property and multiplying it by the current tax rate, as of today, the current rate is approximately 1.18%. For newly purchased properties, the assessed value is typically the purchase price. The tax bill is mailed by the tax collector once a year in the fall. You should receive the bill before November 1st. Fun fact: even if you do not receive the bill in the mail, you are still responsible to pay it.

The bill is broken into two payments, the first payment is due before December 10th and the second is due before April 10th. A penalty of 10% applies if the payment arrives late, so be sure to pay early or on time.

How much are property taxes in San Francisco?

It is important to remember that the regular tax bill is completely separate from the supplemental tax bill that is triggered following the purchase of a property. Supplemental property tax is essentially a catch-up tax on the difference between the last assessed value and the new one (aka the recent purchase price). So if you purchased a condo for 700,000 and the most recent assessed value per the assessor’s office was 550,000 then you should expect a supplemental tax bill on the 150,000 difference. So that would look like this: 150,000 x 1.18%. There is also a variable factored in for what month your closing occurs. It often takes about 3-12 months to receive the supplemental tax bill following the purchase.

To estimate your property taxes, here is a nifty calculator.

For more details on property taxes in San Francisco, visit:

Bank or mortgage broker: Where should you get your mortgage?

If you are considering buying a home, the best first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can see exactly what you can afford before you fall in love with a new home. There are many banks and mortgage lenders that can help with your home purchase but buyers often wonder how to find the best one. Low rates and fees are definitely important but so is the satisfaction of past customers. JD Power recently published a ranking of customer satisfaction of mortgage lenders. San Francisco is a city of mostly older homes and some rather unique real estate market idiosyncrasies so it is very important to work with a lender that knows the area.  I have had clients who’ve worked with some of the lenders on the list below, contact me directly and I can tell you which one may be a good fit for your particular situation.  The lender you chose might actually impact whether your offer is accepted or declined so it is important to do your mortgage lender homework. I am here to help.

Mortgage lender rankings